The IRS Is Calling People Out on Their Stimulus Tax Mistakes

How to know if you messed up the math—and what to do about it.

Originally Published: 
A man calculates taxes on a laptop with a calculator and notepad

The United States government has never directly given normal people as much money as it has over the past year and change, during which it has sent three rounds of stimulus payments of various amounts out to millions of Americans. The novelty of the entire process has posed challenges on both sides, from IRS glitches that prevented money from going out promptly to a one-month delay to the tax filing deadline.

Stimulus payments have also sown confusion on the taxpayer side of the equation. Of those who didn’t receive stimulus checks that were owed to them, they’ve been using the Recovery Rebate Credit tool in order to get their owed stimulus money in their tax return. Filers, seeking only what is rightfully owed to them, have in many cases written the wrong amount in the relevant box. These mistakes are attracting letters from the IRS detailing the error and potentially delaying the delivery of already tardy payments to the folks who need them.

Here’s what you need to know about how to calculate the correct Recovery Rebate Credit and what you should do if you’ve already filed with the wrong amount and receive one of those letters in the mail.

Why are there so many mistakes?

What does the IRS do when it finds a mistake?

How do you figure out the correct amount you’re owed? Rebate Credit Worksheet

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